Colle del Gianicolo (Janiculum Hill)
via Garibaldi, Salita di Sant'Onofrio, 00165 Roma RM, Italy
|⏰ Opening Hours
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
|💸 Entrance Fee
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What is Colle del Gianicolo (Janiculum Hill)?
Colle del Gianicolo, or Janiculum Hill, is one of Rome's fabled seven hills, offering one of the most breathtaking panoramas of the Eternal City. Despite not being included within the ancient city's canonical list of seven hills due to its location on the western bank of the Tiber, this hill holds its own with stunning views and a tranquil atmosphere. From atop Gianicolo Hill, you'll find an extraordinary vantage point over Rome's rooftops, domes, and bell towers, stretching to the horizon.
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The hill is also a place of historical significance and features a number of monuments and sites worth exploring, such as the statue of Giuseppe Garibaldi, the Fontanone (Acqua Paola Fountain), and a lighthouse that was a gift from Italian immigrants in Argentina. It's an escape from the city's hustle and bustle below, favored by locals and visitors alike for a leisurely stroll, a romantic interlude or a family outing.
History of Colle del Gianicolo (Janiculum Hill)
Janiculum Hill's history weaves through the threads of Rome's long and layered past. Strategically important due to its height and proximity to the Tiber river, it has always been a crucial point for the city's defense. In ancient times, it was outside the boundaries of the original city and thus not one of Rome's traditional seven hills, but its importance was recognized early on as a place of worship and later fortified during various conflicts.
The hill bears the name Janiculum after the god Janus, the Roman deity of beginnings, transitions, and endings. In 1849, it was a battlefield for the defense of the Roman Republic, where General Giuseppe Garibaldi fought against French troops. This historical event is commemorated by the presence of the statue of Garibaldi and the others who fought with him, as well as by the annual reenactment of the battle. To this day, it remains an emblem of Italian patriotism and resistance.
Why is Colle del Gianicolo (Janiculum Hill) Important?
Colle del Gianicolo holds a special place in the heart of Rome for both its historical and cultural value. The hill serves as a living reminder of Italian unification and the struggle for Italy's independence, symbolized by the monumental equestrian statue of Garibaldi and the nearby dedications to his fellow combatants. Additionally, its importance extends to providing one of the best views in all of Rome, making it a beloved spot for photographers and romantics.
The hill is also pivotal in the local's daily life – every day at noon, a single cannon fires a blank shot from Janiculum Hill, a tradition that dates back to the 19th century to signal the exact time to the city. This daily event is now woven into the fabric of Roman life, marking the pass of time in a city where ancient and modern converge. For those who appreciate a more peaceful side of Rome, Janiculum Hill offers vast green spaces and shady lanes perfect for reprieve from the lively streets below.
Things to Do & See at Colle del Gianicolo (Janiculum Hill)
One of the key attractions at Colle del Gianicolo is the expansive view of Rome it provides. After taking in the sights, you can explore the numerous statues dotted around the hill, including the central figure of Garibaldi on horseback. Stroll along the paved paths, and you'll come across the Fontanone, an impressive fountain that marks the terminus of the Acqua Paola aqueduct, providing a perfect backdrop for photos or a moment of reflection.
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There's also the historic lighthouse, Faro del Gianicolo, gifted by Italians from Argentina. It illuminates each evening, a beacon of shared national pride and connection. For families, the park areas are ideal for picnics and playtime, with puppet shows regularly entertaining youngsters at the Teatro dei Burattini al Gianicolo. Beyond these, immersing in the quiet ambiance of the Orto Botanico, a prestigious botanical garden run by Sapienza University of Rome, can be a delightful experience. In addition, there are churches such as San Pietro in Montorio, where according to tradition, St. Peter was crucified.
Throughout your visit, you might stumble upon hidden gems and pockets of history, like small memorial plaques and busts of notable figures in Italian history. With its mixture of spectacular views, historic significance, and cultural depth, Janiculum Hill offers an enriched experience that stands distinct from the more traffic-trodden paths of the city's centre.